The KeyI don't actually own a bed. For very complex reasons, or actually no good reason, I come home to a house each night that really isn't mine. In this house I do homework with my children, play with the puppy, carry loads of laundry up and down the stairs and write papers until all hours of the night. In this house I eat bowls of cereal when I get home from class and shower off the remnants of the day. But fairly recently, as I was coming back from walking the dog, I looked through the darkness into the warmly lit windows, glimpsing immaculate furniture and pictures upon the walls and thought, who lives here?
I could imagine the idealization that when I opened the door, there would be someone there to greet me. Instead, the children are already sleeping in their beds and my husband, soon to be ex, is on the computer with his bedroom door closed. He only emerges when he needs another beer and we only speak when he is inquiring about the most recent vet appointment or the whereabouts of particular articles of laundry.
Six years ago he ended all physical and emotional contact with me because he admitted he was "bored" with one woman and that he felt that all men needed variety. "For every super-model out there, there's a guy that's sick of banging her," he said. He leaves every weekend to sleep at his current girlfriend's house.
I had a best friend that claimed to be in love with me and waited, waited and waited. When I was ready to move forward he divulged that he had recently met someone else and that he could no longer wait for a woman that was never really his and a future that wasn't really clear. Hot tears, regret, admission to disillusionment...there was nothing else to do but try to assuage my grief, which unfortunately amounted to driving aimlessly around in my car, smoking cigarettes and listening to The Cure.
There is an old saying that "whatever doesn't kill you can only make you stronger" and I must remember that the heart is, indeed, a muscle. For every burn, every slice, every break, the wound heals and the muscle gets a little stronger.
I think of my past and I sometimes have to laugh at the fact that it could have been in a "Desperate Housewives" sc
The key to happiness and love is not in this house, an empty shell, or another particular person, a stranger. It hides in the laughter I have with my children when we notice that the next door neighbor has a "plummer ***." It emerges when I have a really great conversation with a friend. It peeks out when I look in the mirror, slowly exhale and say, "Ok, I can do this."
Someday I have no doubt that I will love and be loved again, and maybe even have my own bed, but until then...I just keep swimming...